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73
92
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
Thank you @Cobraaph and everybody for the responses. Seeing the SCCA schedule I've made the decision to go with the NASA Great Lakes Region HPDE/TT.

An Optima event if another one lands within a few hours of me would be a good bonus and I can do track days at Waterford Hills or Grattan as well.

Thanks again for all the input and information.
 
466
525
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Huntsville, AL
I agree with Bill…NASA is very structured. You might class yourself as HPDE 3, but I think to get started you still have to start at 1. The Mid-West region, which is oddly the region I started in seems to me to be more structured than the SE Region. Maybe it was just because they have written tests for progression. All common sense stuff, but still it connects the track with class and written knowledge…not a bad thing.

Progression can be a natural thing or very technical thing. My very first NASA event was at Topeka. First time at the track, raining, cold, vintage bias-ply slicks. Instructor got in the car and said “you on slicks”…yep…”alright, let’s go”. He signed me off for HPDE 2. He offered some very good technical advice, but followed it with “one thing is for sure, you can damn sure drive this car”.

I did my next NASA event at my home track Barber a couple months later. Very different experience…although still not so good weather. Instructor was afraid of the car. Wouldn’t even get in it. So he chose to do a lead follow. Rained right before our session. His only comment was I was too slow on the exit lap…🤣🤣🤣. Ok. He also regretted he didn’t ride.

So my point is…I have done two NASA events and I am at HPDE 3. Am I that good? No, but I know how to handle my car, in traffic, at speed. It just depends on the driver, track, instructor…might take two events, might take twenty events. NASA is a very good ladder to climb. Their instructors are all top notch.

Once you get to 3 though, it’s up to you to progress. You have to ask for ride alongs and tests for progression. I suspect it gets tougher to advance beyond 3…at least I feel like it would be for me. My goal was to get to Vintage W2W…which I am now. I will probably still do NASA events at Barber since there is really only one vintage event there per year.
 
73
92
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
I agree with Bill…NASA is very structured. You might class yourself as HPDE 3, but I think to get started you still have to start at 1. The Mid-West region, which is oddly the region I started in seems to me to be more structured than the SE Region. Maybe it was just because they have written tests for progression. All common sense stuff, but still it connects the track with class and written knowledge…not a bad thing.

Progression can be a natural thing or very technical thing. My very first NASA event was at Topeka. First time at the track, raining, cold, vintage bias-ply slicks. Instructor got in the car and said “you on slicks”…yep…”alright, let’s go”. He signed me off for HPDE 2. He offered some very good technical advice, but followed it with “one thing is for sure, you can damn sure drive this car”.

I did my next NASA event at my home track Barber a couple months later. Very different experience…although still not so good weather. Instructor was afraid of the car. Wouldn’t even get in it. So he chose to do a lead follow. Rained right before our session. His only comment was I was too slow on the exit lap…🤣🤣🤣. Ok. He also regretted he didn’t ride.

So my point is…I have done two NASA events and I am at HPDE 3. Am I that good? No, but I know how to handle my car, in traffic, at speed. It just depends on the driver, track, instructor…might take two events, might take twenty events. NASA is a very good ladder to climb. Their instructors are all top notch.

Once you get to 3 though, it’s up to you to progress. You have to ask for ride alongs and tests for progression. I suspect it gets tougher to advance beyond 3…at least I feel like it would be for me. My goal was to get to Vintage W2W…which I am now. I will probably still do NASA events at Barber since there is really only one vintage event there per year.
That's awesome, Patrick. Love the stories.

I hope it didn't sound egotistical to 'class myself' an HPDE 3...just based on the guidelines for registration at my local track that's where I fall.
HPDE-3INTERMEDIATE
  • You have multiple track days here or at other tracks
  • You know the flags and hand signals well enough to give a speech on them
  • You have experienced the limits of traction, and have some experience how to resume control
  • You are highly aware of all driver and Corner Marshal activity around you
  • You are genuinely surprised if a Corner Marshal has indicated a driver wants to pass and you were not aware of it.
  • You are learning how to execute passes on low speed turns
But yea, NASA may be different especially considering that progressing through the HPDE program culminates in applying for a comp license.

I went to register for a Mid-Ohio event last night and figured I'd just sign up at HPDE-2 and let it be sorted out then, I mean, it's not competition so I don't think it really matters. They have a note that says I need to be cleared by an instructor to sign up for HPDE 2. So, I will register as HPDE 1 and I'm sure I'll be moved along to the appropriate run group at the event if/when necessary.

Thanks again, Patrick!
 
466
525
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
3-5 Years
Huntsville, AL
Not at all…I was just pointing out how NASA is structured and how they start you regardless of past experience. Your experience level will show on the track and that is how you will be judged for class promotion. Some guys with obvious experience move up rather quickly. Others not so much…and that’s ok. Seat time is King.
 
73
92
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
Not at all…I was just pointing out how NASA is structured and how they start you regardless of past experience. Your experience level will show on the track and that is how you will be judged for class promotion. Some guys with obvious experience move up rather quickly. Others not so much…and that’s ok. Seat time is King.
Ahhhh, right you are, sir!
 
Tangentially related, but my last outing with SCCA TT they classed my car in M1 because of the replacement Ford Racing toe link bearings. I actually appealed up the chain of command to the rules committee and got shot down.

Theoretically, a completely stock S550 gets bumped up to M1 for toe link bearings because a rubber bushing is replaced with metal. And they will stand by this rule!
 
+1 for the SCCA Time Trials event at Gingerman. By far, my favorite event. I also recently mentioned to them that they should get a Mid-Ohio event on the calendar as well.

Your car would be M2 for SCCA TT events. As said previously - glad your car is coming together, and you can now think about where you want to drive it!
 

Bill Pemberton

0ld Ford Automotive Racing Terror
5,893
4,497
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
20+ Years
Blair, Nebraska
You are in a great part of the Country and go to each Club you can ( SCCA or NASA ). You will have fun at both , learn at both, and decide where you want to land. The one reason NASA appeals to many Mustang Modders, is there is a lot more variance on what you can do since it is based on weight to HP ratio , similar to the race class rules. SCCA is based more on the Solo ( autocross ) rules , so it is not as flexible for many. Either way, go tear up some asphalt , listen and soak up all the instruction you can, and always feel free to ask questions here ---- sometimes we can help enough you won't make the same mistakes we have, ha!!
 
73
92
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
Under 3 Years
Michigan
+1 for the SCCA Time Trials event at Gingerman. By far, my favorite event. I also recently mentioned to them that they should get a Mid-Ohio event on the calendar as well.

Your car would be M2 for SCCA TT events. As said previously - glad your car is coming together, and you can now think about where you want to drive it!

You are in a great part of the Country and go to each Club you can ( SCCA or NASA ). You will have fun at both , learn at both, and decide where you want to land. The one reason NASA appeals to many Mustang Modders, is there is a lot more variance on what you can do since it is based on weight to HP ratio , similar to the race class rules. SCCA is based more on the Solo ( autocross ) rules , so it is not as flexible for many. Either way, go tear up some asphalt , listen and soak up all the instruction you can, and always feel free to ask questions here ---- sometimes we can help enough you won't make the same mistakes we have, ha!!
I agree. I'm in a good geographic location to run in both clubs. I am going to focus more on NASA as there are more events within 3 hours of me. But, I also must drive Grattan and Waterford Hills this year. Grattan is close by and I'm excited to see how lap times and car feel will feel at Waterford since I've driven that track the most.

Thanks again, guys. Looking forward to seeing you at some events this season @KUKeeper30!!
 

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